Beaumont Port Fined $16K for Security Breaches

Breaches not dicslosed, but Coast Guard steps in after security failings


Aug. 30--BEAUMONT -- While the seriousness of three security breaches at the Port of Beaumont that drew fines from the U.S. Coast Guard remain unknown, both port and agency representatives say they are working together to remedy security issues.

The Coast Guard recently slapped the port with $16,000 in fines for the incidents, port Director Chris Fisher confirmed during a commissioner's meeting on Monday.

All three incidents, considered violations of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, occurred during the last year, said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Niya Williams, public affairs officer for the agency's Marine Safety Unit in Port Arthur.

Fisher said the violations are firsts for a port always looking to improve security for its cargo traffic.

"We're vigorously addressing these issues, and it's not necessarily common," Fisher said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon.

Citing port security, Fisher and Williams refused to provide details of how the three violations occurred.

"We're working with the Port of Beaumont to ensure the safety and security of the area," Williams said.

The Maritime Transportation Security Act outlines security procedures ports must follow, depending on the terror threat level at a given time.

The act includes measures such as securing dangerous materials, controlling access to facilities and adequately screening visitors.

Federal law specifies fine amounts, Williams said.

The Coast Guard routinely and randomly inspects area facilities, and the agency also requires that facilities themselves report suspicious activities, Williams said.

The Coast Guard will continue to perform random checks at the port as officials work toward full compliance, Williams said.

msmith@beaumontenterprise.com

(409) 880-0736

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